It’s awkward to talk to someone who doesn’t yet talk back, but the research is clear—there’s a direct link between a child’s intelligence and the number of words spoken to them. In the first few months, your baby is constantly listening to the intonation, rhythm, and patterns of your voice. Even though they can’t understand what you’re saying yet, their brain is laying the groundwork for acquiring language.
SOME TIPS FOR TALKING TO YOUR BABY:
Have a “conversation”
If they start to coo or make any kind of vocalization, talk back to them. Research consistently shows that back-and-forth conversation matters just as much as—if not more than—the number of words they hear.
Try the reading position in the photo above—your baby will take more interest in the book you’re reading if they can see your face, too. It also helps support your baby’s body with your legs.
Narrate the day
Narrate as much as possible for your baby as you move about the house or neighborhood. Tell them about the produce while you are shopping, talk to them while you are changing a diaper. Talk to them face-to-face whenever you can.
When your baby is awake, facing forward in a wrap or with their head turned to the side in a carrier, walk around your house and talk about what you are seeing and experiencing. “House tours” will be a favorite activity throughout the first year.
Sing to your baby
Even if you don’t think you have a great voice, your baby will love it because it’s yours ❤️ Babies tune into singing even more than talking.
Talk in a slower, higher-pitched, sing-song voice
Use the voice that comes naturally to you when speaking to babies. Babies are pre-programmed to tune into higher tones, and learn more from the stretched out vowels in baby talk.
Are you fascinated by the studies that link IQ to how much language a child hears in their early months and years? We are, too! Check out “The Power of Talk: The impact of adult talk, conversational turns, and TV during the Critical 0 – 4 years of Child Development” here.
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